Cardinal Rugambwa to ordain Bukoba Catholic bishop

KAGERA: CARDINAL Protase Rugambwa is expected to consecrate Fr Jovitus Francis Mwijage (57) as new Bukoba Catholic Diocese Bishop on Saturday, replacing Bishop Deziderius Rwoma who has retired.

Auxiliary Bishop Methodius Kilaini, the Apostolic Administrator for Bukoba Diocese, explained that on Friday, adding that night worshipers will attend a vigil accompanied by prayers at the Mater Misericordiae Cathedral in Bukoba Municipal.

Fr Mwijage will be consecrated as bishop by Cardinal Rugambwa at the Kaitaba Stadium on Saturday in a colourful event to be attended by a big number of guests both from Tanzania and other countries. However, the Chief Guest had until yesterday not been made public, he said.

“Preparations are in the final stages to appoint a new bishop after a 50-year period. Pope Francis gave the consent for the retirement of Bukoba Catholic Diocese Bishop Deziderius Rwoma, who reached the retirement age of 75 years. His retirement came into effect on October 1, 2022,” he said.

Bishop- elect Mwijage was born on December 2, 1966, in Missenyi District’s Ishozi village. He was ordained as a priest on July 20, 1997, and served at several parishes, as well as a formation teacher at Rubya Seminary.

He obtained his PhD degree in 2012 at the Gregorian University in Rome, Italy. Until his appointment, Fr Jovitus Mwijage was the National Executive Director of the Association of Diocesan Priests of Tanzania (UWAMATA) and a member of the Regional Council of Seminaries and the International Economic Committee of the Pontifical Mission Societies.

He has authored several books, including “400 Years of the Founding of the Congregation of the Propagation of Faith,” “The Catholic Evangelisation of Kagera (presently Dioceses of Bukoba, Rulenge –Ngara and Kayanga) in NorthWest Tanzania” and “Catholic Religion (Faith) Takes Root 1929 to 1951.” The Bukoba Catholic Diocese was founded by the Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers) in 1882 and was erected as the Vicariate Apostolic of Kagera Inferiore on December 13, 1951.

It was elevated to the Diocese of Rutabo on March 25, 1953, with the late Laurian Cardinal Rugambwa being appointed the first African bishop to lead the diocese until December 19, 1968, when he was appointed Archbishop of Dar es Salaam,” he said.

Other bishops who have led the Bukoba diocese include the late Placidus Gervasius Nkalanga, O.S.B. (March 6, 1969 to November 26, 1973), the late Nestorius Timanywa ( November 26, 1973 to January 15, 2013) and Desiderius M Rwoma (15 January 2013 to October 1, 2022).

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